“Wait a while to have children. You want to enjoy the time you have together…you’ll never get it back…”
My husband and I heard that statement constantly when we first got married, as I’m sure many newlyweds do. He and I only dated for two months, were engaged for eleven months, and were in our very early 20’s, so we definitely took the advice to heart. We decided to wait at least five years before we started our family.
We were approaching our fourth wedding anniversary, and one night at church, our pastor called us up to the front and began to prophesy over us and asked the Lord to bless us with a baby. This was definitely news to us- God hadn’t really put it on our hearts at the time. We had just settled into our first home the month prior and I had just started a new job. We were not making plans of trying to have a baby just yet. In our minds, we still had another year or so before we even began talking about it.
But we took this as direction from the Lord that now was the time to begin our family. He had laid everything in place that we longed for before we ventured out on that season of our marriage- a house with room for our growing family and a job with excellent benefits. We trusted He knew better than we did.
So here we are…a little over a year later and we now have a one-month old little boy. Our family has gone from just the two of us to now the three of us…four if you include our furry son…
Waiting to have a baby definitely gives you the opportunity to build a strong foundation with you and your spouse’s relationship, but I would be lying if I said having a baby doesn’t shake that foundation just a little bit.
Not a full-fledged earthquake, but definitely some tremors…at least for us…
I’m thankful for that advice we heard as newlyweds to wait to have children, but I wish those who gave it would have elaborated a little more about HOW having children would affect our marriage. Here are some things that I have learned in the last month as a new parent that I would like to pass onto those who are thinking about marriage or newly married and are planning on having children someday:
- Sleep is your friend.
Find time to take naps whenever you can (and fight to keep it), even if it’s just for 30 minutes-hour. Ask friends or family to watch the little one so you can catch up on your Z’s. Sleep deprivation will heighten your irritability and you are more likely to get upset with your spouse and create an environment for unnecessary arguments.
- Go on mini-dates.
When caring for a newborn, your main focus is on the well-being of your baby because you are getting to know them. Since it is all new to you, you want to learn their cries and bond with them, but you don’t want to neglect your relationship with your spouse. Even if it is just for an hour or two, find a friend or family member who can stay with your baby so you can have some alone-time with your spouse to connect with them. Just last night, my husband and I dropped our little one off at my in-laws and made a quick trip to Steak-n-shake for two hours. It was so nice being able to look into my hubby’s eyes and have an adult conversation after a long day of baby-talk to quiet the constant fussiness. The chocolate-banana shake made it even more special!
- Don’t stop dreaming.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the daily tasks of caring for a baby. Sometimes it can feel like your life only consists of diaper changing, feeding, burping, coddling, and pacifier hunting, and it can be hard to see past that. Dreaming about your future keeps you and your spouse excited about the new season you are in because your family has grown. For my husband and I, we enjoy dreaming about vacations we will get to take with our little family. I enjoy imagining my son seeing the ocean and feeling the sand between his toes for the first time or building sand-castles together.
- Pray for your spouse.
Marriage is the first test God uses to rid us of our selfishness, and becoming a parent challenges that selfishness even more. The transition to parenthood is a little scary because it is nothing like anything you have ever experienced before. You are responsible for the life of another human being- for the first time ever, your attention and actions help keep someone alive…there is no room to be selfish here! The enemy wants nothing more than for us to remain in that selfish state. Praying for your spouse keeps your mind off of yourself and how this transition is affecting YOUR life. Declare grace over your spouse’s day because they need it as much as you do- they are experiencing change too. Ask God to help them guard their mind and heart, to give them wisdom and supernatural strength that helps them walk in peace and love at all times. Your prayers will help them be a better spouse to you and a better parent to your child/children.
- Remain thankful.
Thankfulness also helps ward off selfishness. It keeps your heart clear of bitterness or becoming resentful towards the new challenges that your new role brings. Make a list of all of the wonderful qualities of your spouse to remind yourself of how blessed you are to have found someone to start a family with. Just because you are a parent now doesn’t mean you lose your wife or husband status- your marriage allows you to be a team, to work together with the duties of caring for a child. Be grateful for the blessing of a child and that you have a teammate to help you raise them!
Although I have only been a mom for a little over a month now, I know that there will be more lessons along the way, but for now, I pray that these five will help you when the time comes for you to enter this blessed season of life. Even if it doesn’t always feel like it, the Lord declares you blessed!
Don’t you see that children are GOD’s best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you;
you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.” -Psalm 127:3-5 The Message (MSG)
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